Airlines are actually banning flyers who won’t wear masks

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U.S. airlines are not in the mood.

For months now, airlines have required passengers to wear face coverings in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. But they’re encountering many travelers opposed to wearing masks for various reasons, even though the Center for Disease Control says that masks are one of the most “powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus.” The airlines have done their best to convey their guidelines to the public, but some customers haven’t been so quick to cooperate.

This has led to airlines taking more extreme measures to enforce their policies — if you’re flying American Airlines, Delta, United or Alaska without a mask, you’re at risk of being banned from flying in the future.

(Photo by VanderWolf Images/Shutterstock)

Big U.S. airlines banning customers for not wearing masks

We told you how American Airlines and United Airlines were banning passengers from flying in the future if any refused to wear face coverings. However, more are joining.

Delta Air Lines

Add Delta to that list — it may be the least forgiving of all. Their CEO, Ed Bastian, claims they’ve already added 100 names to their naughty list. Bastian said on the Today Show:

We’ve been steadily and rather aggressively stepping up our enforcement of the mask policy. You cannot board a Delta plane unless you have a mask on. If you board the plane and insist on not wearing a mask, we insist that you do not fly Delta into the future.

These are apparently travelers devoid of medical conditions that would prevent them from wearing a mask. However, the Delta website does state that anyone who is unable to wear a mask is “strongly encouraged to reconsider travel” with Delta. If you’ve got a health condition that does exempt you from wearing a mask, Delta says you should “be prepared to complete a ‘Clearance-to-Fly’ process prior to departure at the airport… [P]lease arrive early to complete the process during check-in and avoid missing your flight – this process can take over one hour… Any false claims of a disability or health condition to obtain an exemption from wearing a mask or face covering may result in the suspension of travel privileges on any Delta flight for the duration of the mask/face covering requirement.”

In other words, after masks are no longer mandatory, Delta’s travel ban on these customers appears to lift.

United Airlines

United will place non-compliant travelers on an internal travel restriction list, where they will be reconsidered for future travel dates. Unlike Delta, United hasn’t said how many people have been placed on its no-fly list. “Customers on this list will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review,” United said in a statement.

American Airlines

American Airlines said it may “deny future travel” for anyone who refuses to cover their face. American actually banned one flyer after he boarded a flight from New York to Dallas and refused to wear a mask.

Alaska Airlines

Earlier this month, Alaska said it will be handing out “yellow cards” to passengers who don’t follow masking guidelines after repeated requests from flight attendants while onboard an aircraft. This action could lead to a temporary suspension from flying with the airline.

Its website states, “with that warning – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – the guest’s travel with us will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period.”

Bottom Line

Airlines have said that after masks are no longer a requirement, they’ll remove flyers off restricted lists. We’ll keep you updated if other airlines begin enforcing their face-covering policies with a rod of iron. You can subscribe to our newsletter for more information on traveling amid COVID-19 delivered straight to your inbox.

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